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Physical Activity and Public Health in Latin America—Moving Forward

Adrian E. Bauman and Harold W. Kohl III

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Reflections Before Moving Forward

Harold W. Kohl III and Jennifer M. Hootman

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Physical Activity: Yes, It Is a Discipline

Harold W. Kohl III and Jennifer M. Hootman

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Lessons From a Life Well-Lived

Harold W. Kohl III and Steven N. Blair

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Sedentary and Active: Self-Reported Sitting Time Among Marathon and Half-Marathon Participants

Geoffrey Whitfield, Kelley K. Pettee Gabriel, and Harold W. Kohl III

Background:

Emerging evidence suggests that combined physical activity (PA) and inactivity may be more important for chronic disease risk than PA alone. A highly active yet highly sedentary population is needed to study this interaction. The present purpose is to describe the sitting habits of a group of recreational runners and determine if sitting varies with reported training duration or anticipated running velocity.

Methods:

Marathon and half-marathon participants completed the Multicontext Sitting Time Questionnaire and reported peak training duration, anticipated finishing time, and demographic information. Sitting time was described across 5 contexts for workdays and nonworkdays. Total sitting time was analyzed by tertiles of training duration and anticipated event running velocity.

Results:

218 participants took part in this study. Median reported training time was 6.5 hours per week. Median total sitting time was higher on workdays than nonworkdays (645 and 480 minutes, respectively, P < .0001). Total sitting time was not associated with training duration or anticipated event running velocity.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that recreational distance runners are simultaneously highly sedentary and highly active, supporting independence of sedentary behaviors and moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA. This population may provide the characteristics needed to study the joint effects of active and sedentary behaviors on health outcomes.

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Changes in the Percentage of Students Who Walk or Bike to School—United States, 1969 and 2001

Sandra A. Ham, Sarah Martin, and Harold W. Kohl III

Background:

This report describes changes in the percentage of US students (age 5 to 18 years) who walked or bicycled to school and in the distance that they lived from or traveled to their school in 1969 and 2001 and travel patterns in 2001.

Methods:

Data were from the 1969 National Personal Transportation Survey report on school travel and the 2001 National Household Transportation Survey.

Results:

A smaller percentage of students lived within 1 mile of school in 2001 than in 1969. The percentage of students who walked or biked any distance decreased from 42.0% to 16.2%. Nearly half of students used more than 1 travel mode or went to an additional destination en route between home and school in 2001.

Conclusion:

Multidisciplinary efforts are needed to increase the percentage of students who walk or bike to school, as well as decrease the distances that students travel.

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Sociodemographic Factors, Population Density, and Bicycling for Transportation in the United States

Eileen K. Nehme, Adriana Pérez, Nalini Ranjit, Benjamin C. Amick III, and Harold W. Kohl III

Background:

Transportation bicycling is a behavior with demonstrated health benefits. Population-representative studies of transportation bicycling in United States are lacking. This study examined associations between sociodemographic factors, population density, and transportation bicycling and described transportation bicyclists by trip purposes, using a US-representative sample.

Methods:

This cross-sectional study used 2009 National Household Travel Survey datasets. Associations among study variables were assessed using weighted multivariable logistic regression.

Results:

On a typical day in 2009, 1% of Americans older than 5 years of age reported a transportation bicycling trip. Transportation cycling was inversely associated with age and directly with being male, with being white, and with population density (≥ 10,000 vs < 500 people/square mile: odd ratio, 2.78, 95% confidence interval, 1.54–5.05). Those whose highest level of education was a high school diploma or some college were least likely to bicycle for transportation. Twenty-one percent of transportation bicyclists reported trips to work, whereas 67% reported trips to social or other activities.

Conclusions:

Transportation bicycling in the United States is associated with sociodemographic characteristics and population density. Bicycles are used for a variety of trip purposes, which has implications for transportation bicycling research based on commuter data and for developing interventions to promote this behavior.

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The Effect of New Shower Facilities on Physical Activity Behaviors of Employees: A Quasi-experiment

Eileen K. Nehme, Adriana Pérez, Nalini Ranjit, Benjamin C. Amick III, and Harold W. Kohl III

Background:

This quasi-experimental study assessed the effects of new workplace showers on physical activity behaviors in a sample of downtown employees in Austin, TX.

Methods:

The study design was quasi-experimental with 2 comparison groups. Data were collected via internet-based surveys before and 4 months after shower installation at 1 worksite. Differences across study groups in the ranks of change in past-week minutes of physical activity from baseline to follow-up were assessed. Adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for reporting an increase of ≥10 min past-week physical activity and workday physical activity among those with new showers and existing showers relative to those with no showers were also assessed.

Results:

No significant differences in changes in physical activity from baseline to follow-up across study groups were found. One-quarter of participants with new workplace showers and 46.9% of those with existing workplace showers at baseline reported ever using the showers.

Conclusions:

This prospective study did not find significant changes in employee physical activity 4 months after installation of worksite showers. Worksite shower users were highly active at baseline, suggesting a possible early adopter effect, with potential for diffusion. Future studies may benefit from longer exposure times and larger samples.

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Cross-Sectional Relationship Between Physical Activity and Falls in Older Adults, United States 2003

Susan A. Carlson, Judy Kruger, Harold W. Kohl III, and David M. Buchner

Background:

Falls are a major health problem for older adults. The purpose of this study is to examine the cross-sectional association between non-occupational physical activity and falls and fall-related injuries in US adults age 65 y or older.

Methods:

Respondents age 65 y or older were selected from the 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (n = 47,619).

Results:

The age-adjusted incidence of falls was significantly higher among inactive respondents (16.3%, 95% CI: 15.2–17.6) than insufficiently active (12.3%, 95% CI: 11.4–13.2) or active (12.6%, 95% CI: 11.6–13.7) respondents. After controlling for sex, age, education, and body-mass index, active and insufficiently active respondents were significantly less likely to have fallen and were significantly less likely to have had a fall-related injury than their inactive peers.

Conclusion:

These results show that active and insufficiently active older adults experience a lower incidence of falls than their inactive peers.

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The Effect of a Neighborhood Built Environment on Physical Activity Behaviors

Tamara Vehige Calise, Samuel C. Dumith, William DeJong, and Harold W. Kohl III

Background:

The ability to design or reconfigure communities to be more supportive of physical activity has broad public health implications. Assessing the context and locations of specific behaviors will lead to a better understanding of how neighborhood attributes influence overall physical activity.

Methods:

A cross-sectional survey was used to assess physical activity before and after residents moved to Mueller, a New Urbanist-inspired community in Austin, Texas. Context-specific physical activity and the locations where these activities took place were examined.

Results:

Overall, residents reported that they increased their physical activity by 66.4 minutes (95% CI: 32.8–100.1) per week after moving to Mueller. For recreational walking, residents reported an average of 159.8 minutes inside Mueller after moving, an increase from 91.7 minutes before their move (P < .001). Correspondingly, residents walked 18.6 fewer minutes per week outside Mueller (P < .001). For transport-related walking, the mean number of minutes spent walking outside Mueller remained constant, but the time spent walking inside the neighborhood decreased an average of 10.8 minutes per week after moving (P = .02).

Conclusions:

The most notable increase was seen in walking for recreation inside the neighborhood. Results of this natural experiment strongly suggest the environmental impact on physical activity and underscore the importance of investigating the context and locations where different types of physical activity occur.